Daredevil routinely confronts the darkness of the people and the city he’s sworn to protect. Despite that, Matt Murdock isn’t always dour; he has a swashbuckling side that’s beloved by his fans, and he has been known to revel in his adventures. This is a side of the Marvel Comics hero readers don’t always get to see thanks to the tumultuous nature of Murdock’s personal life, but it remains an important part of the character — particularly as it helps balance out the title’s often dark tone.
Right now, Charles Soule and Goran Sudzuka are reaffirming the importance of that aspect, sending Murdock on a mysterious mission in Hong Kong where he’s teamed with the Amazing Spider-Man. CBR News spoke with Soule about his take on Daredevil’s swashbuckling tendencies, and pairing him with the alway-quipping Spidey. We also discuss the upcoming “Daredevil Annual,” which welcomes Echo back into Matt Murdock’s life, and the series’ next arc, where DD will tackle on an art-inspired serial killer the tabloids have dubbed “Vincent Van Gore.”
CBR News: So far in your “Daredevil” run, you’ve touched upon the character’s legal aspect, the ninja and sort of occult aspects, and in issue #8 you kicked off a story where you tackle an often overlooked aspect of Matt Murdock: the swashbuckling side of Daredevil. How important is this, do you feel, to the character?
Charles Soule: I think it’s crucial. It’s as important as humor is to Spider-Man. Daredevil can get really dark sometimes, and certainly the next big story goes that way. So, I wanted to remind the reader of some of the things about Matt’s life that are actually fun before we go back into the shadows. He’s a ladies man, he’s incredibly smart, he’s a sharp dresser (somehow), and he likes to show off sometimes. Plus, he’s a daredevil. He works without a net, and those are fun stories to tell.
You’re teaming Matt and Spider-Man together in issue #9. What’s it like writing them working together with their current status quos?
I just finished writing a big story with Daredevil and the Punisher; they’re always fun to write together because they’re similar in many ways — except that Punisher crosses lines that Daredevil won’t. He’s the darkest expression of Matt Murdock’s mission. I think Spider-Man is similar, but he’s something of a lighter version of Matt. That’s not to say that Peter Parker doesn’t have his own burdens, but I feel like his default way of dealing with a criminal might be to web him up, whereas Matt might knock him unconscious. It’s neat to write them together, because I think they know this about each other — they recognize their similarities and their differences. It’s a neat dynamic.
What can you tell us about the second half of “Blind Man’s Bluff?” And in issue #8, you suggest that the Black Cat is somewhat responsible for Matt’s current predicament. What’s your sense of how Matt views Felicia Hardy and her current role as one of the most powerful crime bosses in New York?
The story is mostly set in Hong Kong, where I lived for a while growing up. I’ve always wanted to set a story there, and doing something with Daredevil seemed like a natural fit. The Marvel U has two main “swinging through the city” characters: DD and Spidey, and while NYC has its share of skyscrapers, Hong Kong definitely rivals it. With Spider-Man currently hanging out in China in Dan Slott’s run, it just seemed like a nice chance to put them both in one of my favorite cities in the world, and loosely continue the China themes that have been a part of the first year on the run.
As far as Felicia, I don’t want to spoil too much — there’s a big reveal here that will move some of the run’s larger puzzle pieces a bit closer together. You’ll see when the issue comes out!
In August’s “Daredevil Annual,” you and artist Vanesa Del Rey introduce Echo back into Matt Murdock’s world for the first time in a long while. What made you want to bring Echo into the book?
She’s just a cool character, with a power set that really nicely complements what Matt can do. A blind character with a deaf character is interesting to me. The Annual was also the first issue I wrote after Prince passed away, which had a big impact on me. The story is sort of my little tribute to an artist I greatly admired, which is, in part, why it’s so concerned with the power of sound and music.
In “Daredevil” #10, also in August, you kick off a new arc titled “The Darkest Art.” Is this the arc where you’ll debut the new villain you talked about in our last interview, the one the tabloids will call Vincent Van Gore?
Yes, that’s the guy. His “real” name is something else, which you’ll get in the story. He’s my attempt to create a really new, frightening adversary for Daredevil, with themes that reflect what DD does. He’s a serial killer who’s also an artist — he feels others’ death is a small price to pay in the pursuit of great works of creation. In a way, that’s similar to Daredevil, who believes that whatever cost he personally pays in the pursuit of justice is worth it. The new bad guy (Ah, hell, I’ll just tell you his name — we call him Muse) also thinks there is no cost too high if it results in beautiful art. He just wants the cost to be paid by other people. It’s a big story, sort of a statement of intent for the series, and I’m a little intimidated by what we did here. I hope people like it!
What’s it like pitting Daredevil against a villain like Muse? How do he and Blindspot become embroiled in the hunt for this new serial killer?
Daredevil and Blindspot find that first crime scene, and it just spirals from there. Muse gets very angry when these heroes attempt to stop him from his sacred artistic purpose, and it gets ugly. I think Matt works perfectly for something like this — it’s very gritty crime stuff, but with a weird, surreal flair. It also enables me to get his legal side into things quite a bit, which is always the goal with Daredevil. I really like Muse, and I hope people react positively to him. He’s a real straight-up bastard.
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